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Upper Division Course Offerings


Spring 2015


ETS 301-3      Reading and Writing Prose

MW 2:15-3:35 pm

Instructor: Caitlin Hayes

In this class, we will closely read and discuss exemplary nonfiction texts with the aim of deepening our understanding of and broadening our possibilities for how to tell stories, particularly stories that are “true,” or based on fact. Students will write analytical responses as well as creative nonfiction essays, the latter of which will be submitted for workshop by the group. Discussions, workshops, and analytical papers will focus on craft, aiming to articulate how a story or an essay holds and moves its readers. Authors include Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, E.B. White, Annie Dillard, Joy Williams, and David Foster Wallace, among many others.

 

 

ETS 304-1      Reading and Writing Poetry

TuTh 11:00 am-12:20 pm

Instructor: Sarah Harwell

T. S. Eliot said that minor poets borrow while great poets steal. From classical antiquity to the present, poets have always learned their trade by imitating other poets. They have always pursued their individual talent by absorbing, assimilating, and in some cases subverting the lessons of the traditions they inherit. In this class, we will read and imitate poems from well-known poets. We’ll examine each poet closely, sympathetically, and predatorily. That is, we will read like aspiring writers, looking for what we can steal. We will deepen our understanding of a variety of poetic devices, such as diction, image, music, and metaphor. We will attend to each poet’s stylistic and formal idiosyncrasies, their techniques and habits, and then write poems that show who we have read and how well we have read them. You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the work studied.


 

ETS 305-1      Critical Analysis: Literature and its Media
TuTh 2:00-3:20 pm
Instructor: Chris Forster
We usually talk about “novels,” “poems,” or “films” (and texts of various other kinds). But what about the paper and ink (or parchment or wax or celluloid or LCD screens or tablets) that carry those texts? Does the history of these materials affect literary forms? Do they change how, or what, we read? This class pursues these questions by drawing on the field of media studies in order to investigate the effects of the history of textual materiality on the history of literature. This class will cover a diverse and historically broad set of materials and concerns, looking at the history of texts from the ancient world (and oral poetry) through to contemporary developments in digital culture (novels written on Twitter). We’ll read key theorists of media studies (and related fields, like book history) alongside key literary texts where questions of materiality are particularly important. Likely critics include Plato, Walter Ong, Marshall McLuhan, Freidrich Kittler, and Walter Benjamin, alongside works by major poets, novelists, and writers (including Laurence Sterne, ee cummings, and Teju Cole). Course work will include a final essay, regular short responses, and a presentation to the class.



ETS 305-2      Critical Analysis: Racial Imagination
MW 2:15-3:35 pm
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant
This course will look at theories of race with a focus on the intellectual history of responses to the advent of blackness, the rise of whiteness, and the partition of humanity into phenotypically differentiated branches as captured by literature and thought across several centuries. The class will survey William Shakespeare’s “dark lady” and the Bard’s relationship with Lucy Negro, Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness, Thomas Jefferson’s reading of Phillis Wheatly, William Taylor Coleridge’s difficulty with the “race” of Othello, Wallace Stevens’ stigmatization of Gwendolyn Books, and the critical discussion about the all-black production of “white” plays on the contemporary American stage, among other “racial moments” in literature and thought. The class will consider these vis-à-vis the representation of phenotypical difference in texts written in European countries from Homer through the 1400s prior to the rise of the Christian West and the advent of the racial other as a factor of geopolitical relations.

 


ETS 310-1      Literary Periods: The American Renaissance

TuTh 2:00-3:20 pm

Instructor: Patricia Roylance
By any measure, the early 1850s were tremendously fertile years for U.S. literary production. This “American Renaissance” produced famous novels (like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin), short stories (like Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno”), orations (like addresses on the institution of slavery by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Henry David Thoreau) and long poems (like Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha). We will be analyzing these seminal texts, and also studying the social, political, and cultural events of this period and how they influence its literature. As academic trends have shifted, critical interest in this period has moved from “classic” literature by white men to, for example, popular bestsellers written by women authors and abolitionist texts by people of color. We will study the immense symbolic value of this period as a battleground on which these kinds of shifts in critical priorities are negotiated.

Pre-1900 Course

 


ETS 315-4      Ethnic Literatures and Cultures:
Native American Poetry and the Poetics of Resistance
TuTh 11:00 am-12:20 pm
Instructor: Jules Gibbs
This course will examine the cultural and historical forces that shape Native American poetry, with particular focus on poets and poems from the Native American Renaissance, which coincided with the Red Power civil rights movement. In order to situate the formation of this poetry in a broader historical context, we will examine federal policies that drastically altered Native American life in this country, particularly policies surrounding treaties and reservation lands. We’ll read work by many poets, including Zitkala-Ša, Simon Ortiz, Natalie Diaz, Adrian C. Louis, Ai, Leslie Marmon Silko, Marnie Walsh, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Wendy Rose, Santee Frazier, and John Trudell. We’ll also screen the first-ever native-made film about natives, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, as a powerful example of poetic and cultural resistance.

Meets with NAT 300



ETS 320-1      Authors: James Joyce

TuTh 11:00 am-12:20 pm
Instructor: Chris Forster
In this class we will focus intensely on Joyce’s work and life, reading three of Joyce’s four “major” works. Joyce’s work captures many of the key developments of twentieth-century literature and so is of interest to anyone interested in the history of literature. We’ll begin with his collection of stories Dubliners and his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, before moving to Ulysses, a work sometimes celebrated as the greatest novel of the century and sometimes catigated as hopelessly confusing and difficult. The heart of this course will be a slow, deliberate, and careful reading of Ulysses. We’ll end the semester by looking briefly at selections from Joyce’s final work, Finnegans Wake. Alongside Joyce’s novels we’ll also consider some of the most significant criticism of Joyce’s work, both from Joyce’s contemporaries (including writers like T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) as well as more recent criticism. Class assignments will include regular short written responses, two major essays, and a presentation to the class.

 

 

ETS 320-3      Authors: Medieval Masterpieces

MW 12:45-2:05 pm
Instructor: Patricia Moody
From about the time of the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century to roughly the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the period called “medieval” was marked by war, plague, famine, crop failures, and crusades.  It was also a period remarkable for its advances in science, technology, literature, and the arts.  This course examines selected masterpieces of the medieval era across cultures, from Beowulf and Boethius to the Chanson de Roland, Dante, and Chaucer.  Literary texts will be examined alongside other cultural masterpieces such as illuminated manuscripts, tapestries, chant, and cathedrals.  

Pre-1900 course

 

ETS 330-1 Theorizing Meaning and Interpretation: The 60s: Promise, Conflict, Reaction
TuTh 9:30-10:50 am

Instructor: Don Morton

The course will investigate the 1960s as a time of political, cultural, and social ferment.  Studying various kinds of cultural texts (literary, filmic, musical, and theoretical), the course will pose the question of the inheritance of the 60s and the period's aftermath means for the relative quietism of today.

 

 

ETS 340-1      Theorizing Forms and Genres: Medieval Love Stories

MW 3:45-5:05 pm

Instructor: Patricia Moody
Before the twelfth century, western vernacular writings dealt almost exclusively with religious, historical, and factual themes, all of which were held to convey the truth. During the second half of the twelfth century, however, a new genre emerged:  the romance, which was consciously conceived as fictional and therefore allowed largely to break free from traditional presuppositions. Medieval romances astound the modern reader—first, by their broad circulation throughout Europe; second, by the multitude and variety of stories, characters, themes, and motifs they reveal; and finally, by the sheer diversity of their forms and subject-matter, complexity of narrative strategies and perspectives, and the critical responses they invite. This course offers an examination of medieval fictionality. Beginning with the origins, forms, and contexts of medieval romances, we examine the emergence of romance in its first formative period in the twelfth century, the role of magic and fantasy, and transformations of stories from ancient to modern times. Throughout we will consider the difficulties of the genre and the kinds of sociological and cultural issues romance interrogates.

Pre-1900 Course



ETS 340-2      Theorizing Forms and Genres: Cinema and the Documentary Idea
MW 3:45-5:05 pm
Film Screening W 7:00-9:45 pm

Instructor: Roger Hallas

Invented at end of the nineteenth century, cinema was inevitably shaped by industrial modernity’s demand for empirical scientific evidence. But the medium also has a long history as a tool for self-representation and the exploration of subjectivity. Cinema continues to be regarded in various ways as a powerful visual technology for capturing the “real” in all its diversity. This course investigates the complex history and theorization of the documentary idea across various film and video practices. We shall examine not only classic and contemporary documentary films, but also experimental cinema, fake documentaries, wildlife films, docudramas, and reality television. We shall interrogate the very term “documentary” which has a long and contested history that traverses scientific, legal, aesthetic, political, sociological, and anthropological discourses. Moving from the euphoria and anxiety around the first public film screenings by the Lumière Brothers in 1895 through the radical defamiliarization of the world in Soviet and 1960s political cinema to the subversive playfulness of the contemporary mockumentary, the course explores the relations between documentary practices from different national, historical, and political contexts. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course



ETS 340-3      Theorizing Forms and Genres: Temporality across Media
MW 5:15-6:35 pm
Film Screening M 7:00-9:45 pm

Instructor: Chris Hanson
This course will explore representations and uses of time across multiple media, focusing in particular on artistic and industrial practices, technological developments, and theories about temporality.  Media texts, forms, and related technologies examined in the course will include mainstream and experimental film and video, television, interactive media, and video games.  We will closely study media objects which reference their own temporality or reconfigure time using formal methods such as repetition and narrative structures built around time travel. The role of medium specificity in both the representation of time and our experiential understanding of temporality will be considered, as well as the cultural and social significance of historical shifts in notions of time. Texts and technologies to be examined will include Life of an American Fireman (1903), Ballet Mécanique (1924), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), A Movie (1958), Koyaanisqatsi (1982), Groundhog Day (1993), Memento (2000), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003), Decasia (2004), Lost (2004-2010), time-shifting on television (i.e. VCRs and TiVos), Braid (2008), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), YouTube, and Twitch. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course

 

 

ETS 350-4      Reading Nation and Empire: American Captivities: Race and Nation in the New World
TuTh 12:30-1:50 pm

Instructor: Dorri Beam
This course considers the captivity narrative as a recurring form in American literature and asks why it should be so prevalent in a “land of freedom.”  We’ll expand this category beyond its traditional focus on Puritan captivity (in which colonial settlers recounted being captured and forced to live with Native Americans) to examine issues of cultural contact and containment, freedom and imprisonment, and national inclusion and exclusion in the stories of captured Africans, Native Americans, and women.  After studying the iconic stories of captives John Smith, Pocahontas, Mary Rowlandson, and conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, we’ll turn to slave narratives (Equiano, Nat Turner, Hannah Crafts), which both capitalized on the phenomenal success of captivity stories and inaugurated captivity as a leitmotif of African American literature (Chesnutt, Wideman).  We will explore Native understandings of captivity in the work of Leslie Marmon Silko, Zitkala-Sa, and "ledger art" by Plains Indians.  Several filmic adaptations, including John Ford’s classic Western, The Searchers, and Terrence Malick’s recent The New World will be on the docket.  Throughout we’ll ask how, as students of American literature, we should understand our own captivation and contact with the American captivity narrative.

Pre-1900 course



ETS 350-5      Reading Nation and Empire: Literatures of American Empire
MW 12:45-2:05 pm

Instructor: Naomi Edwards
This course will examine various iterations of empire in U.S. literature and culture. From slavery and the legacies of Jim Crow, to American expansionism and “Manifest Destiny,” to Cold War military interventions in Asia, to globalization and economic exploitation, we will examine the ideologies of U.S. power across a range of historical and cultural contexts, as well as consider the ways in which race and gender have been deployed in constructions of U.S. national identities. Readings will consist of literary, theoretical, and historical texts, and may include such writers as Herman Melville, C.L.R. James, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gloria Anzaldua, Jessica Hagedorn, Nora Okja Keller, and Indra Sinha.

 


ETS 360-1      Reading Gender and Sexualities: American Women Writers of Color

MW 5:15-6:35 pm

Instructor: Naomi Edwards

This course will cover a broad range of literary works written by U.S. women writers of color. We will consider how the intersecting systems of race, ethnicity, class, and country of origin (among others) come to bear on experiences of gender and sexuality. How do writers of color define the meanings of womanhood in the U.S. across different historical and cultural contexts? How do gendered subjectivities come into being in and through ideologies of race? In what ways might experiences of oppression be compounded by such an “interlocking matrix of domination”? What strategies of resistance and survival do these writers offer in their work? Readings will consist of literary and theoretical texts, and may include such writers as Harriet Jacobs, Ann Petry, Sandra Cisneros, Bharati Mukherjee, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Toni Morrison.



ETS 360-4      Reading Gender and Sexualities: The Victorian Family and Its Others

MW 12:45-2:05 pm

Instructor: Kevin Morrison

Building on trends that began in the 1700s, the family in nineteenth-century Britain emerged as a model of private and affective relationships. At the same time, in an effort to preserve this model, some of its constituent members became a focus of broad social concern. This course will examine, in various literary and prose works of the period, the idealization of the family as well as the challenges to its moral authority. We will consider the emergent notion of childhood innocence; the division of labor within a household; marriage as a cultural institution and as a literary device; sex (casual or committed) and love; and the various outsiders against whom the family was often defined, including the orphan, the governess, the spinster, and, following the medicalization of sexuality in the late nineteenth century, the homosexual. Our texts will include novels, etiquette guides, cookbooks, child-rearing manuals, medical dictionaries, social and political treatises, sermons, and a generous sampling of poetry.

Pre-1900 Course



ETS 400-2      Selected Topics: The Mysteries of London
TuTh 3:30-4:50 pm
Instructor: Michael Goode
This course examines nineteenth-century crime and mystery literature about London, as well as contemporary novelists’, graphic novelists’, tourists’, and filmmakers’ fascination with this literature and with Victorian London.  The course is a regular semester-long course taught on the Syracuse University campus, but students must also participate over spring break in an SU Abroad short-term program involving nine days of on-site study in London with the professor.  Texts covered will include Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith, and Alan Moore and Eddie Campell’s From Hell.  Assignments will consist of a 5-page paper, a 10-page paper, reading quizzes, and a 20-minute presentation to be given during the spring break trip portion of the course.  The course is capped at 20 students and admission is by application only.  Applications were due at SU Abroad on October 6, 2014.

Pre-1900 course

4 credits



ETS 401-3      Advanced Writing Workshop: Poetry

Th 3:30-6:15 pm

Instructor:  Brooks Haxton

This course seeks the sources of emotion and imagination in the writer and the skill to make writing accessible to readers. You will write one new poem each week, some in response to assignments. You will revise four of these new poems into carefully considered form.  Requirements include reading, written analysis of poems, and memorization. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory poetry workshop. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of ten pages of original poetry to be considered for admission.     

 

 

ETS 403-1      Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction

M 5:15-8:00 pm

Instructor: Caitlin Hayes

For advanced writers with some workshop experience. We will discuss student work as well as stories by contemporary authors, with a focus on craft, how a story holds and moves its readers. Significant revision required. Permission of the instructor is needed unless the student has completed ETS 217. Submit a fiction sample to chayes01@syr.edu.  

 

 

ETS 410-1      Forms and Genres: Film Noir Crime and Detection
TuTh 5:00-6:20 pm

Film Screening M 7:00-9:45 pm
Instructor: STAFF
Popular with critics, scholars, and everyday audiences, “film noir” is a key category in our understanding of Hollywood representations of crime, deviancy, and investigation. From its origins in French criticism responding to Hollywood cinema in the post-World War II period, the concept of film noir took on a life of its own, finding new application in a string of “neo-noirs” from the 1970s through to today, as well as in innumerable popular culture appropriations and parodies. In this course, we will examine the history of the category, investigating its historical sources, mutations, and continued popularity. We will also consider how the film noir depicts criminality and the investigative process, placing these depictions in their historical contexts. Screenings will include a wide variety of films noir across the history of the category, from the 1940s to the contemporary period, with the first portion of the course focusing on studio-era noir, and the latter portion on neo-noir. Assignments will involve two major papers, the second with a research component, and shorter assignments designed to build familiarity with historically and theoretically informed approaches to film studies.

The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course



ETS 420-1      Cultural Production and Reception: Shakespeare’s Other Worlds
MW 12:45-2:05 pm

Instructor:  Stephanie Shirilan
Foreignness of time and place will be our point of entry for examining national, religious, racial, ethnic, and political “otherness” in Shakespeare’s plays. We will study five plays with “otherworldly” settings in order to evaluate how the device of temporal and geographic distance allows Shakespeare to engage with contemporary debates concerning the nature (and artificiality) of race, class, and gender as explanatory mechanisms for national constructions of identity and difference. Assigned plays will likely include Cymbeline (set in pre-Christian Britain), Macbeth (feudal Scotland), Antony and Cleopatra, (the opulent “East”), Measure for Measure (Catholic Venice), and the Tempest, whose ambiguous location has served as the impetus for an intense colonial/post-colonial tradition of critique with which you will become familiar.  In order to foreground issues of dramaturgy and performance in our discussions of historical and contemporary reception, we will watch selections of filmed adaptations and will go see the Syracuse University drama department’s production of Measure for Measure.
Pre-1900 course



ETS 420-2      Cultural Production and Reception: Victorian Affections and Disaffections

MW 2:15-3:35 pm

Instructor: Kevin Morrison
The Victorians are known for their intense affections. Domestic idylls of the 1830s through the 1850s venerated the familial hearth and sang the praises of wife and mother. Lyric poetry—ranging from mawkish verse to philosophically complex ruminations on the epistemology of love (how does one know love? how does one know the other through love?) as well as the phenomenology of love (how do we experience it?)—celebrated the couple. Marriage plot novels elevated love over the many other feelings (duty, obligation) and pragmatic motivations (joint labor, property consolidation) on which unions might be based. Yet if Victorian literature often sought to ennoble, refine, and provide an idiom for expressing the affections, it just as frequently explored the spectacular collapse of affective ties, the failures of intimacy, and the estrangement among families, spouses, and lovers. With a strong emphasis on poetry, this course attends to the period’s complex renderings of emotional life.

Pre-1900 course



ETS 444-1      Topics in Theoretical Modes of Inquiry: Early Modern English Feminism(s)
TuTh 3:30-4:50 pm

Instructor: Melissa Welshans

This course will explore literature from early modern England (1500-1700) that illuminates gender relations of the period, paying particular attention to authors whose texts have been read through the lens of feminist theory or who themselves seem to espouse a proto-feminism. At a moment when our own culture is teeming with debates surrounding women’s equality and the definition of “feminism,” an examination of earlier cultural iterations of female liberation and women’s rights can prove useful for our understanding of contemporary arguments. Texts under investigation will include works by female authors such as Mary Sidney, Aemilia Lanyer, Dorothy Leigh Elizabeth Cary, Anna Trapnell, Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn as well as texts by male authors including William Shakespeare, Thomas Dekker, John Donne, Andrew Marvell, the Earl of Rochester, and John Milton. Assignments will include formal essays and written exams.

Pre-1900 course

 

 

ETS 495: Thesis Workshop

W 3:45-6:30 pm

Instructor: Jolynn Parker

This course is a continuation of ETS 494, the Research Practicum. It is intended to serve as a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction Essay or Honors Thesis. The workshop will mostly involve presenting drafts of your thesis and engaging in collegial peer critique. Participation is by invitation only, and requires successful completion or ETS 494.